Author Archives: Paul Ndiho

DRC SECURITY SITUATION

By Paul Ndiho

A United Nations envoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is warning that the M23 rebel group activities in Eastern DRC are threatening to reverse hard-won progress in security and stability in the region. 

Public pressure is mounting, and Congolese citizens are calling their government to act. They accuse Rwanda of supporting M23 rebels that wreaked havoc in the eastern part of the country.  Rwanda is denying those accusations.

DRC GOMA

Briefing the Security Council on Wednesday, Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC, and head of MONUSCO, said that the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is getting out of control.

“Sadly, the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo deteriorated a lot, notably in reason of the intensification of the March 23 Movement (M23) attacks against the civilian population, the national security forces, and the peacekeepers of the MONUSCO, as well as attacks by ADF, CODECO, and other armed groups’ attacks in Ituri and North Kivu.”

During the most recent attacks, Keita said that the M23 “behaved more like a conventional army than an armed group.  The M23 has increasingly sophisticated firepower and equipment, especially in terms of long-range mortar and machine gun firing capabilities, as well as precision fire on aircraft.  The threat this represents for the population and the blue helmets mandated to protect it is obvious.

“The intensification of M23 attacks and the resulting regional tensions have unfortunately called into question the positive dynamics recorded in recent years between the DRC and Rwanda.”

Also speaking at the Security Council was Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, the DRC Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he says “Congolese citizens are not convinced that MONUSCO’s highest priority is civilian protection.

“The most important thing to ensure in a war situation under Chapter Seven of the UN charter is civilian protection. In DRC, Congolese citizens are not convinced that MONUSCO’s highest priority is civilian protection. So, MONUSCO must work on this aspect. A strong offensive position is also called for. If MONUSCO cannot impose itself as a dissuasive force on the ground, it will struggle to carry out its mission and civilian protection mandate.”

Earlier this month, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the current Chairman of the East African Community, welcomed the leaders of the seven nations to discuss the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s violence-torn east.  The meeting was attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Felix Tshisekedi, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

23 AFRICAN MIGRANTS DIE IN MOROCCO

By Paul Ndiho

Moroccan authorities have decided to prosecute 65 migrants who joined Friday’s mass attempt to cross into a Spanish enclave by storming a border post.

Black African migrants with their hands tied behind their backs

Video footage circulating on social media sites released by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights organization shows the brutal treatment of Black African migrants with their hands tied behind their backs, pleading for mercy at the hand of the Moroccan authorities. However, The Voice of America has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of this video.  Various media outlets are reporting that at least 29 migrants have died, citing unnamed hospital sources.

Moroccan authorities are denying those accusations and say the deaths resulted from a crush, after what they called, a stampede and from migrants falling from a high fence.  Scores more were injured, along with dozens of Moroccan security personnel.  But this cellphone footage released by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights purportedly shot at the exact locations tells a different story.

A massive attempt by migrants to storm the barrier between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla resulted in the killings of at least 29 sub-Saharan Africans and sparking worse fears.

Many migrants, often from different parts of Africa, have spent months or even years under precarious, dangerous conditions in the nearby forest of Gourougou, braving beatings and arrests in multiple attempts to reach better lives in Spain.

Melilla and Ceuta, Spain’s other tiny North African enclave, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, making them a magnet for migrants.

Nearly 2,000 migrants made their way to the border at dawn, and over 500 managed to enter the border control area after cutting a fence with shears, the Spanish government’s local delegation said in a statement.

Images on Spanish media showed exhausted migrants lying on the sidewalk in Melilla, some with bloodied hands and torn clothes.

In March, Spain ended a year-long diplomatic crisis by backing Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, returning to its decades-long neutrality stance.

Meanwhile, Hundreds of protesters rallied in Madrid on Sunday to condemn the death of black African migrants by the Moroccan border fence in the aftermath of an attempted mass crossing into Spain.

Demonstrators lay on the ground in a staged performance emulating videos that have emerged in the last two days showing dozens of migrants lying on the ground, some bleeding and many lifeless.

PATRICE LUMUMBA’S REMAINS RETURNED TO D.R.C.

By Paul Ndiho

The coffin carrying the remains of slain Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba has returned to his home for an emotionally charged tour and burial more than six decades after his assassination. 

Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba’s remains have been returned to his home more than 60 years after his assassination.  A carrying Lumumba’s remains — a tooth that ex-colonial power Belgium handed over to his family last week — from Brussels to Kinshasa for a nine-day trip around the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The coffin and an accompanying delegation then flew to the central province of Sankuru, where the country’s first post-independence leader was born in the village of Onalua in 1925.

Jean Jacques Lumumba, an activist and recipient of the International Award for Fighting Corruption, is the grandson of Patrice Lumumba and was among the family that received the remains. He spoke to VOA from Paris about the significance of the remains and the family’s quest for justice.  Jean Jacques Lumumba, is a great grandson of Lumumba.

“Lumumba family suffered repression in the name of the brother. We would have all wanted to see this day while in grief the emotions. Still, it’s so for the Congolese people for whom the death of Lumumba and its comrades represent the beginning of this cycle of impunity, of the dawn of our focus to independence until today.” 

After resting in his native village, the coffin of the former Belgian Congo’s first post-independence prime minister began its memorial pilgrimage to the northeastern city of Kisangani.

A single tooth is all that remains of the young scholar and nationalist politician whose life and career was cut short in a dark struggle for leadership and control of resources in the central African country.

Lumumba’s body was dissolved in acid after being killed, but a Belgian police officer kept the tooth as a trophy.

In 1958, Lumumba launched a political party, the Congolese National Movement, which won national elections in May 1960, a month before independence.

“Justice is the only practical option to a bright future. You know the memorial for millions of victims of yesterday and today who was to be respected and honored Congolese life justice and Lumumba family-like justice. “

From Kisangani, the coffin will be taken to Katanga in the southeast, where a secessionist movement raged after independence and Lumumba and his aides were tortured.

The burial ceremony is planned for June 30th in Kinshasa, which is D-R-C Independence Day.

GLENCORE PLEADS GUILTY TO CORRUPTION IN AFRICA

By Paul Ndiho

A Glencore subsidiary has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of bribery after admitting to giving inducements to African officials. The mining conglomerate anticipates paying over one-billion dollars to settle corruption and market manipulation violations.  

A subsidiary of British mining and trading giant Glencore formally pleaded guilty to seven counts of bribery concerning oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and South Sudan. The Swiss-based multinational company expects to pay up to $1.5 billion dollars to settle bribery and market manipulation wrongdoings.  Subsidiaries in the U.S., Brazil, and Britain subsidiaries have now pleaded guilty to criminal offenses. 

Glencore CEO Gary Nagle said in a statement issued to reporters.  “We recognize there has been misconduct in this company historically. We’ve worked hard to correct that,”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in May said that a $1.1 billion agreement with the U.S. will resolve a decade-long scheme to bribe foreign officials across seven countries.  And separate criminal and civil charges alleging one of the company’s trading arms manipulated oil prices at two of the largest U.S. shipping ports.

“The company has agreed to plead guilty in each case. With the first plea, Glencore has agreed to pay approximately $700 million in penalties for its decade-long scheme to bribe foreign officials in seven different countries. The second plea involves Glencore’s U.S. commodities trading arm, Glencore Limited, which used a scheme to manipulate fuel oil prices at two of the busiest commercial shipping ports in the United States over eight years. As a result, Glencore has agreed to pay approximately $485 million in penalties.”

Leonce Ndikumana, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts and co-author of the book “On the Trail of Capital Flight from Africa:  the takers and the enablers” says in the last five decades, Africa has lost more than $60 Billion dollars, which is more than the continent has received in foreign aid, foreign direct investments and remittances to corruption.

“In the case of Angola, about one hundred and three billion dollars have evaporated from nineteen eighty-six to twenty eighteen through capital flight for Cote d’Ivoire. Over 50 billion dollars have left the country unaccounted for. And those represent resources that could have been used for development. So and what we find is that in these countries, there are institutional and economic factors that drive capital flight. In the case of South Africa, we profiled a phenomenon that is under scrutiny in the case, which is the state of the subject of state capture.

Ndikumana argues that African citizens should be concerned because the capital flight is funded and fueled by money from minerals and oil resources that belong to the African people, but end up enriching private individuals embezzling those funds.

“You find private individuals who are very powerful and. Connected with the party, the government was able to enrich themselves by leveraging corruption and bribery and networking with key individuals.”

Glencore Energy is to be sentenced in November after admitting to paying more than $28 million in bribes to secure preferential access to oil and generate illicit profits between 2011 and 2016.

The company still faces Swiss and Dutch investigations.  But after sweeping changes that culminated in the exit of CEO and top shareholder Ivan Glasenberg in 2021, the November sentencing will likely wrap up a multi-national inquiry. 

FEMALE CODERS IN MOMBASA, INSPIRE OTHER YOUNG WOMEN

Are you looking for what job you can get with solid coding and computer skills? In Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, these are some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs. Female coders in Mombasa, fascinated with the intricacies of computer coding, want to inspire other young women to consider careers in this field.
For more, I am joined by Ruth Kaveke, Co-Founder and Executive Director of PwaniTeknowgalz, currently pursuing her master’s in technology, innovation, management, and entrepreneurship at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

TUNISIA NATIONWIDE STRIKE

By Paul Ndiho

Tunisians took part in a demonstration organized by the National Salvation Front, a coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups, to protest President Kais Saied and an upcoming July 25 constitutional referendum. Paul Ndiho has more.

Hundreds protested in Tunis Sunday on day two of protests against a constitutional referendum called by President Kais Saied that his opponents say is likely to cement his hold on power.

The Salvation Front, a coalition including the moderate Islamist Ennahda, the largest party in a parliament that Saied dissolved in March, organized the demonstration.

It followed a similar protest on Saturday, called by the Free Constitutional Party over the referendum, and a strike on Thursday by a powerful labor union over government economic reform plans, which brought much of the county to a standstill.

The president’s supporters say he is standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.

The country’s main political parties say they will boycott the referendum. But, opposition to Saied remains fragmented, as shown by the separate demonstrations at the weekend.

Protesters on Sunday marched through central Tunis, watched by a heavy police presence. Meanwhile, on Saturday, the judges in Tunisia extended their national strike for a third week in protest against a decision by Saied to sack 57 judges on June 1.

President Saied accused them of corruption and protecting terrorists – charges that the Tunisian Judges’ Association says were mainly politically motivated.

Saied’s moves have heightened accusations at home and abroad that he has consolidated one-person rule after assuming executive powers last summer and setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree.

TENSIONS ARE HIGH BETWEEN THE RWANDAN AND DRCONGO BORDER

President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomes the leaders of seven nations comprising the East African Community (EAC) bloc to discuss the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s violence-torn east. The meeting is being attended by the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye, President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi. Paul Ndiho has more

TUNISIA FLIGHTS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT DISRUPTED AMID UNION STRIKE

On Thursday, flights, public transportation, and business were disrupted across Tunisia as travelers waited with their luggage at Tunis-Carthage International Airport after flights were canceled due to the vast public sector strike to demand salary hikes and concessions on looming reforms. Paul Ndiho has more.

EMPOWERING NIGERIAN FARMERS TO ACCESS LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL MARKETS

Many subsistence farmers in Africa lack access to local markets, let alone international buyers. So there is a huge problem, but it also offers an opportunity for Technology Startups.
In Nigeria, Winch Farms is a Technology company driving efficiency in the supply chain by providing a platform where subsistence farmers and food producers get direct access to markets without the activities of middlemen.
Earlier I spoke to Riches Attai, the CEO and Co-founded of Winch farms in Lagos, Nigeria.

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